The Cambridge Geek

Dying Breeds

Gervaise Sareen has a podcast, called, funnily enough, Dying Breeds. It's about all of those professions that still exist, but only barely, because they're getting less and less needed. For example, shoeshiners. Do you need your shoes shined? Would you sit on a chair for five minutes just for a more spiffing shoe? Ah, but what if it came with surprisingly good advice?

That's where this drives sideways rather sharply. Gervaise is theoretically making a documentary, but this actually lives pretty heavily in mockumentary land. All of the people being spoken to involve Gervaise in their lives a little bit more than he might hope.

The shoeshiner is at the end of his tether because he can't get people to stop asking him for advice. The roadside cafe will never get over the day that someone stole a plate. The in-person video dating service ("no internet here, thank you very much") is run by a confirmed bachelor. The signature hunter has a lifelong quest, and the health farm owner... well, the less said about them the better.

Gervaise is dragged into each of these misadventures, usually just about surviving, but always learning something about the human condition on the way. I don't want to say this is cosy, because that can feel like a negative in the "comfortable, didn't really push itself" way. Instead, this is wholesome, feelgood-esque, while still remaining tightly written and occasionally pointed.

I'm also impressed by the level of production. The sound is crisp and clean, and the sound design does a very nice job of building a world. That might be helped by it being a relatively short series (only 5 episodes, I want more!) as it's been crafted pretty carefully. Give this one a listen.

Score 4

Tagged: Audio fiction Comedy Cast Fictional show Workplace/Employment Serial